By Kamran Shafi
Published: December 1, 2011

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

And will our brass hats not learn that merely striking attitudes is never enough? Take the matter of the Shamsi airbase which the Americans have been asked to vacate inside of 15 days after Nato helicopters attacked a border post in Mohmand Agency, killing 26 of our troops, including an officer. Hang on, though… didn’t Pakistan publicly ‘order’ America to remove all of its personnel and drones from the airfield in June 2011, also, as ‘punishment’ for finding and killing the terrorist (who was the direct cause of thousands of Pakistanis being killed and horribly maimed), Osama Bin Laden, in Abbottabad Cantonment?

So, why are they still there? Is it not the case that those who hold sway over our security establishment say one thing for public consumption to keep the hapless elected government on notice, and do quite another to keep those lovely $s and toys for the boys coming in? Certainly seems to be the case, for this is what the Washington Times, a favourite of all Pakistani dictatorships for its conservative leanings, had to say on November 26, the day of the attack, on the Mohmand post: “Pakistan has cooperated secretly with the US on several war-fighting missions in an odd-couple alliance that also sees factions in Islamabad backing the fiercest American enemy.

“The uneasy relationship is being put to the test again, as Pakistan accused Nato on November 26 of unleashing a helicopter strike on a Pakistan army border outpost and said 24 soldiers were killed. US military personnel who have served in the region tell the Washington Times that Pakistan does far more in secret than either side acknowledges. It wants money from Washington to keep flowing, yet fears a democratic Afghanistan could one day align itself with arch-enemy India, analysts say.

“Pakistan’s dual objectives help create this odd alliance. Last summer, as then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen was castigating Pakistan in public for aiding the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, the CIA was launching predator drone strikes from Pakistani airbases on suspected militants. The US military has deemed Haqqani its greatest threat, ranking it above the Taliban and al Qaeda”.

Be that as it may, back to the instant case of the attack on our post. There is much righteous indignation, with the jingoist propagandists of the Deep State gnashing their teeth and hurling threats here, there and everywhere. From burning down the world and all who live in it with our bums, to sending everyone to an early grave, they ‘leave no stone unturned’ in looking for and finding the worst ever terminology for doing other human beings harm.

In typical fashion, not one of them raises any question at all about the non-response from our side, even on a very local level, to the attack! Credible witnesses, quoting the wounded in the Civil and Military Hospital (CMH), Nowshera, now say that the attack lasted for five-six hours. Five-six hours? Our ‘sovereignty’ was being violated for that long and not one Pakistani fighter aircraft, not one American-supplied attack helicopter with night capability took to the skies in an effort to dissuade Nato from continuing with the attack? Indeed, if it was as unprovoked as we say it was, why weren’t the intruders, at the very least, challenged even three or four hours into the attack? But, hold on to your seats readers: what does the GHQ say in a briefing in which the foreign press was excluded for reasons best known to ISPR (for the whole world got the news an hour after the briefing ended): “The rules of engagement have to be formulated by the [civilian] government.”

Oh, yeah? Really, now? The civilian government has to ‘formulate’ the ‘rules of engagement’ even in case of a sudden attack across our borders, eh, when our Rommels and Guderians have made it clear to all of us hapless citizens of the Land of the Pure that they are the ones really in charge of our security, indeed of our ‘ideological frontiers’ too? Recall, that the GHQ itself had already announced that the government was informed of the attack ‘the next day’.

May I also remind our Sahib Log that no such compunction held them and their ISPR back when they formulated (in a Corps Commanders Conference aka ‘The Forum’!) and issued a rebellious news release on the Kerry-Lugar Bill? Remember that, sirs?

I have said it countless times before, I will say it again: Our Rommels and Guderians are full of bluster and hot air and false braggadocio, designed only to keep us lay Pakistanis in awe, and our weak-kneed and perpetually destabilised (by them) civilian governments on notice. Why else do they strut about the national stage, chests ablaze with far too many, mostly undeserved, medals and gongs and sashes and girlie accoutrements such as that ridiculous gold and silver and red cummerbund with tassels at the end (can they not get the Sam-Browne belt back please?), glaring at all those that disagree with them? And doing worse to some, as we well know?

Which reminds me. Whatever happened to the inquiry into Saleem Shahzad’s brutal murder, My Lord Saqib Nisar? It’s been long enough, Sirji!

Might one ask, too, why the media is deathly silent on that atrocity? Silly question, for we know the selectiveness with which it works: it is ludicrous is it not, that it lighted upon Mansoor Ijaz’s allegations against Husain Haqqani, pillorying him incessantly, even asking the Honourable Supreme Court to step in, and completely ignoring the quite inflammable allegations Ijaz laid at the door of the ISI and its ‘S’ Section? I mean, the man actually said that the ISI and its ‘S’ Section were the “scourge of radicalism”, a “cancer”, and a “sponsor of terrorism”.

There is no justice in the world is there?

The Deep State wins. All of the time…

P.S. I continue to believe that this is as much our war as it is the Americans’. And that once they leave, we will be in direr straits.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2011.